Women’s Lacrosse Takes Tight 12-9 NECC Win Over Wheelock

paige vitale looks to pass the ball

BENNINGTON, Vt. – Neither side led by more than three goals at any point of Saturday's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's lacrosse game at Everett Field as Southern Vermont College held on for a 12-9 league win over the visiting Wheelock College Wildcats.

With the match tied 6-6 late in the first period, SVC tallied the final two scores of the half to go into the break on top 8-6. WC would cut it to a 10-9 Mountaineer edge with 13:34 left in regulation, but Southern Vermont was able to gain some separation before running out the clock for the victory.

The Mountaineers move to 6-4 on the year and 4-1 in Conference action as WC falls to 4-5 overall and 3-2 against the NECC.

SVC continues its four-game home stand on Tuesday with a 4 p.m. league matchup against Daniel Webster College. Wheelock next hosts Newbury College on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. NECC tilt.

Southern Vermont senior captain Emily Lesure (Cheshire, Mass.) became the second Mountaineer to register 100 goals in the SVC jersey as she scored five on the day to tie the game-high; she also had an assist and three ground balls. Fellow senior captain Lauren Nesshoever (Chittenden, Vt.) added three goals, two assists, four draw controls and three ground balls while classmate and captain Mel Orrell (Gloucester, Mass.) chalked up two goals and game-highs of nine ground balls, eight draw controls and six caused turnovers.

Wheelock sophomore Colleen Macdonald (Sandwich, Mass.) tied Lesure's game-high of five goals, and she also notched team-bests of six ground balls and six draw controls. Junior Katie Frade (Dartmouth, Mass.) recorded two goals and two caused turnovers, and sophomore Alexah Mellis (East Longmeadow, Mass.) pitched in with a goal and three assists.

SVC sophomore Sydnee Julian (Mexico, N.Y.) made her first start of the year in net—making four saves through the opening 30 minutes while the Mountaineers grabbed a lead for her to take the win (1-0). Mountaineer junior Kristiana Goldup (Schuylerville, N.Y.) came on in the second half and posted five stops for the hosts. Wildcat senior Meghan Lewis (South Berwick, Maine) made 15 saves between the pipes in the loss (4-5).

The Mountaineers took a 14-9 advantage in draw controls and scooped up a 42-35 edge in ground balls.

It didn't take long for Southern Vermont to grab the upper hand with sophomore Stephany Ferreira (Shelton, Conn.) taking a pass from junior Paige Vitale (Port Jervis, N.Y.) and put it past the keeper just 39 seconds into the game. Macdonald answered under a minute later to tie it before sophomore Keegan Hughes (Ipswich, Mass.) got her third of the year to give the Wildcats an edge. Mellis then converted on a free position opportunity to put the visitors ahead 3-1—only to see Lesure and Nesshoever tally back-to-back goals to even things once again.

Nesshoever found Lesure for the senior's 99th goal as a Mountaineer, but Macdonald responded exactly a minute later with the equalizer. Orrell potted an unassisted goal for the hosts to take the upper hand, and Nesshoever then set-up Lesure once again for the milestone goal.

Mellis fed Frade at the 10:00 mark before the Wildcats tied it once again on a Macdonald free position goal. That would be the last even score of the game, however, as Lesure scored two more times in the backend of the first half with her 33rd of the year—sending Southern Vermont into the intermission in front 8-6.

Orrell converted on a free position chance for the opening goal of the second stanza and her team-leading 34th of the year. A Mellis pass made way for Frade to notch her 23rd goal of the season and make it a 9-7 SVC lead, but Lesure found SVC sophomore Aubrey Vierstra (Saugerties, N.Y.) for her fourth of the year and the 10-7 tally.

Macdonald notched back-to-back goals to cut it down to a one-score deficit—the sophomore's 30th of the year making it 10-9. Nesshoever would complete the scoring in the final 10 minutes as she potted one with 9:30 on the clock before firing into an empty net after the WC keeper was called for a foul; that would be her 34th of the campaign to tie Orrell for the team-lead.

After Wheelock turned the ball over in the final minute, SVC was able to run out the clock and secure its fourth league win of the year.